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Posts tagged ‘Outlaws’

The Invisible Grotto of the Travel Crate Door

Husband left for Oamaru this day last week to catch the last weekend of duck shooting and partake in some serious alcohol abuse with the Outlaws.

I did not join him because my friend, Helen, was over from Dubai. She had asked me to accompany her on a three-day road trip to visit her friend in Tokoroa, and then to Turangi. Kind of like Thelma and Louise, only without the attempted rape, murder and mutual suicide pact; and if I spotted Brad Pitt I was resolved to tell him to wipe that self-satisfied smirk off his gob, although the gay cowboy theme rather suited him.

On Tuesday night, I returned home tired and grumpy after the 350km drive from Turangi. I unloaded the mountain bikes, fed the dog, unpacked my bag. I was scheduled to fly to Dunedin on the 09:55hrs Pacific Blue flight the following day.

Then disaster struck; although it didn’t STRIKE so much as creep up gradually like tentacles of doom as it gradually dawned on me that the door of Jed’s travel crate was missing. I mean, at first I thought it was just hiding playfully. When it did not respond to my summons, I searched the house and determined it was temporarily misplaced. Finally, I resigned myself to the fact that the door had vanished from the face of the earth without a trace.

Although Husband provided telephone support, he was – and it pains me to admit this – he was of limited use. He had no idea where the door might be. He had no recollection of putting it anywhere in particular. He refused to consider leaving Jed with the Other Outlaws. He was unnecessarily negative about the possibility of hiring a crate at 22:30hrs. He looked up Trademe to see whether there were any large crates for sale with a ‘buy now’ option. He suggested I send him the crate dimensions and he would ‘make a door’ and courier it up to me the following day

So instead of leaning on Husband when the pitch of panic reached critical levels, I called Pacific Blue.

Since I had purchased a budget ticket, they would neither reschedule my flight nor refund the fare.

Bastards.

And so my average success rate with catching public transport has dropped to 42%. I take comfort from the fact that this is the first time I have missed a flight due to a disappeared door. Give me some credit: my usual style is to turn up at the airport and THEN realize there was no door.

At least I didn’t have to worry about packing. I went to bed instead, where I had nightmares about turning up at Auckland Airport with a makeshift door constructed of welded paperclips and chicken wire affixed to the crate with baling twine and hardened Wrigley’s Juicyfruit.

The following morning, I awoke dark and early and formulated a cunning plan.

Well, I did not want to hire a crate because upon his return, chances are Husband a.k.a. ‘Sniffer’ will walk into the Twilight Zone that is his garage and find the missing door lying in the middle of the floor, or surrounded by hundreds of lit candles in a grotto in the center of the bench – in much the same way as he solved the Mystery of the Missing Marriage Certificate, which was not really that mysterious in the end – or, for that matter, missing – although it was indeed a genuine marriage certificate (although issued in Ireland so you never really know).

For much the same reason, I did not want to purchase another crate.

And so I did what any sane, rational person would have decided to do under the circumstances

It’s either me or The Stick

0904-lake-waitaki

A couple of weeks ago, The Outlaws and I went on a little day-trip to Lake Waitaki. Mother and Stepfather-In-Law, Sister and Boyfriend-In-Law and three brown dogs crammed into the car.

The journey was memorable for two reasons.

The first was meeting The Warrior at a cafe in Kurau, where we stopped for lunch pies. The Warrior punctuates his conversation with intermittent headbutts. Last time I saw him, at Sister-In-Law’s 40th party, he was so inebriated he made serious play (not that someone has to be drunk to put the moves on me – although it undoubtedly helps). The conversation went something like this:-

Warrior: Hi you’re <INDETERMINATE> nice I’m <INDETERMINATE> Warrior but I prefer to be known as <INDETERMINATE>.

Me: Um, yeah, we’ve met.

Warrior: We . . . we have? Oh . . . yeah! You’re the <INDETERMINATE>. From . . . from last night. He-ey! I had <INDETERMINATE> lovely time-

Me: I’m very pleased for you, but I think you have me confused with someone else.

Warrior: You’re . . . not . . . <INDETERMINATE>? From last night?

Me: Er. No. We met at Hampden Pub. New Year’s Eve.

Warrior: Not . . . last night?

Me: No. Oh hey, I’m going to go and talk to my husband.

Warrior: What? YOU HAVE A HUSBAND? I didn’t . . . you never said . . .

Me: Bye now.

In the cafe, I pretended not to notice him: no easy feat in a space the size of your average parking space.

The second reason was that Jed broadcasted nuclear farts the entire journey. By the time we arrived at the lake, my pooch and I were not the most popular members of the family.

I am still blown away (to clarify, I’ve moved on from farting) by how Jed looks at me as if I am the most awesome being in his little universe. I flatter myself this is due to more than just my status as a sophisticated bone delivery system.

My puppy is pretty loyal (although said loyalty is admittedly concentrated by a baggie full of chicken liver). But when it comes down to the wire: a desperate choice beween me and a mouldy old termite-infested stick?

Yeah, it’s the stick.

Every time.

0904-jed-fetches

Jed fetching Stick.

 

0904-speechless-audience1

Jed’s audience, speechless with admiration at his stick-retrieval abilities.

 

0904-wheres-the-stick

Ok: where is it?

 

0904-two-brown-dogs

Two brown dogs: Jed and sister Lottie

How to use your face as a hoe

Yesterday I cycled up to Sister and Boyfriend-In-Law’s house to lash myself to a desk and force out a word or two in a manner similar to performing open heart surgery on oneself.

As you can tell, progress on the second novel is going well.

I borrowed Mother-In-Law’s mountain bike for the trip, which comes accessorised with toe clips. I had no choice but to jam my boots in, because otherwise the clips  struck sparks off the ground on the down stroke.

I’ve never seen the point of toe clips – although I’m sure someone out there in padded lycra shorts can provide one or several. I suppose toe clips might stop my feet shooting off the pedals and kicking pedestrians or, more damagingly – for me, at any rate – lamp posts or letter boxes.

Because that happens all the time.

Instead, the only effect of the toe clips was that, when I pulled to a stop at Sister and Boyfriend-In-Law’s house, completely forgetting my feet secured to the pedals, I toppled off the bike and applied my face to their flowerbed

Someone stole my bold

On Thursday, the weather was so balmy we opened the doors and windows and ate lunch on the balcony. It’s been a while since that was possible without being swept away by a tsunami of rain. The temperature has climbed at least four degrees in the last ten days.

But enough about the weather. At the rate I go on about it, you’d think I was Irish or something.

The sunshine was that saucy (last mention, honest), it tempted Husband and I out on our mountain bikes. Again, I’ve written essays on cycling, so I’ll almost leave it there. Except to say this was the first time in over a week we’ve been out biking, since we were visiting the Outlaws in South Island. If that comes as a surprise, well, I’m canny like that.

It’s calving season on the farm, which means there was a disturbing amount of mucous. According to local legend (Craig), one of their pregnant heifers suffered such a build-up of gas that she fired her newborn right across the field. I suppose you might call it an explosive delivery. If the calf wasn’t dead at blast-off, it certainly was by the time it hit the neighbouring paddock.

Since I am chronically afflicted with Pteromerhanoboviphobia (fear of airborne cows) I spent the entire week cowering in the living room. Husband’s family pretty much treat me as one of the livestock, albeit a pedigree. It suits everyone: I get fed and watered, and have even trained the Outlaws to the extent that everyone is horrified when I fix myself a drink.

Mother In Law: Niamhie, did you make that?

Me: *martyred sigh!* Yes.

Mother In Law: CRAIG! Poor Niamhie had to get her own drink.

Craig: Ker-rist.

Don’t ask me how I arranged that; I only wish I knew. [Note: this phenomenon applies only to Husband’s immediate family, not Husband himself.]

It wasn’t an entirely one-sided arrangement. Every now and then I did the dishes, in order to feel useful and moan about how dishwashing fluid dries out my hands. Also, I exercised the farm dogs, albeit inadvertently when they came to round me up at the end of the day. And I am great entertainment value in the evening.

At least the surfeit of sloth gave me time to catch up on some quality TV.

On Oprah, I discovered that apparently, someone has stolen my bold. The pyschologist was regrettably vague about who or when, although it was probably a man (cue earnest shot to earnest woman in audience nodding earnestly). She also failed to specify whether I could retrieve the Bold if I staged a daring counter-raid, or whether it would be a waste of time because shortly after the theft my Bold was traded on the Black Market. Then again, it was difficult to make her out with all the hair patting and gesticulating.

I can’t say I’m happy about the situation because, despite not being entirely sure what it is, my Bold sounds like a useful asset. I’m considering robbing someone else’s Bold. Maybe Husband’s, because he appears to have double or even triple rations of Bold. Even though he heatedly denies it, chances are he was the one who stole my Bold in the first place.

Once you get over how profoundly disturbing shows like The Swan and Wife Swap are, they make compelling telly. On Swan, women who are mentally compromised and/or have deep-rooted issues apply for a makeover, because they believe their earlobes or abnormally large ankles are what is holding them back in life. In a fairly typical overview, Kelly explains how she has always hated her teeth: “Kids made fun of me in school. They called me- they- <sob!> called me ‘Rabbit Teeth’. I kind of nibbled my food. I just know <pause to wipe eyes> if I didn’t have these teeth, everything would be better.”

When I say ‘makeover’, two participants are whisked off to a hotel where they have cosmetic and/or reconstructive surgery, followed by an extreme diet and exercise for three months. Neither woman is allowed see themselves until the grand unveiling in front of a full-length mirror.

“Are you ready?” asks the presenter, gripping Kelly’s hands fiercely. “Are you ready to meet the brand new you?”

The curtains over the mirror swish back, and Kelly’s all:-

“Oh my God! Oh my Gaw-haw-hawd! Is that- I can’t believe it’s really ME! I’m SO BEAUTIFUL! Waah! Waah! Waah!” <fluttering hands>

“You’re a new person!”

“I am! A new person!”

In this case, Kelly was fitted with a full set of glow-in-the-dark veneers. Despite the fake choppers being freakishly large and causing a significant overbite, Kelly appeared to be ecstatic. She proceeded to the Swan Pageant because her competitor was disqualified for smuggling a mirror into the hotel in her anus.

Wife Swap features two families where the matriarchs abandon their families to be temporarily installed with another. Wiccan chicken-worshippers are placed with born-again Christian families, and composting yoghurt-weavers with families who mainline MacDonald’s. That sort of stuff.

I don’t know what the duration of stay is, but the whole exercise is staggeringly irresponsible. I’ve only seen the show a couple of times, but it has never featured anyone I would trust to water my plants. No family members have been killed in the production of this show, but it can only be a matter of time.

In ‘Don’t Forget The Lyrics!’, contestants have to guess the lyrics of a given song. In a nail-biting buttock-clencher, Nicole had to guess the next ten words to Michael Jackson’s ‘Rock With You’.

Girl close your eyes
Let that rhythm get into you
Don’t try to fight it
There ain’t nothing that you can do
Relax your mind
Lay back and groove with mine
You got to feel that beat
And we can ride the boogie-

____ ____ ____ ____ ____
____ ____ ____ ____ ____

There you go folks, what are the last 10 words?

$600,000 at stake, and Nicole tanked.

The Outlaws have viewed me with a new respect since I leaped to my feet, gripped my crotch, and nailed the lines in a dazzling performance:-

Share that beat of looove!
I wanna rock with you-OW!

Of course, they were not to know that I have stored in my memory banks a library of seventies and eighties lyrics, including the entirety of Boney M’s canon. Couldn’t tell you what I had for breakfast this morning, but

Caribbean Queen!
Now we’re sharin the same dreeam!
And our hearts they beat as one
No more love on the run

Recipe: Duck au Craig

Given Craig and Margaret’s vocation, it is not unusual to return from a trip to South Island with various species of carcass in various stages of thaw packed in the suitcase. Husband’s, that is. I try to ensure my wheelie bag is too full to admit offal.

After his duck shooting weekend, Husband returned to Auckland triumphantly bearing three plucked, frozen ducks. Since then, they have resided in The Outlaws’ freezer. Rosina was saving them for a special occasion – or more likely, whenever she could recollect their presence in the freezer.

Yesterday, on the occasion of The Bro’s birthday, the ducks were pressed into service for dinner.

Craig sent specific, pithy yet precise instructions for the cooking of ducks. For whoever is interested, here is his recipe.

Duck au Craig

Ingredients
Plucked duck(s)
For each duck:- 1 cup ginger beer OR orange juice

Method
Preheat oven to 160°. Chuck the duck in an oven bag, followed by the ginger beer or orange juice. Seal. Roast for four hours. Craig didn’t mention anything about turning the bag periodically, but I wouldn’t be so brazen as to suggest it was an oversight

I faithfully repeated these instructions upon handover of the ducks. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how it tastes, because a) I don’t eat duck and b) Rosina used an alternative recipe for Orange Balsamic Maple Glazed Duck. This was mainly because it only called for an hour and a quarter in the oven which, at eight o’clock, sounded like a better option.

Apparently the ducks were tasty but a tad dry, with crunchy bits that tasted like shotgun pellets

“Think I can touch my forehead!”

Father In Law is in good form – at the moment he’s in Sydney at the Formula 1 racing. Prior to harvesting his stem cells, he underwent a three-day dose of savage chemo. He subsequently lost his hair, which was a bit of a shock; it is easy to forget how sick he is. 

He might have retained some, except that he liked to demonstrate his accelerating hair loss to visitors by ripping it out at the roots: 

“Aw yeh, all falling out – look! Make a jumper out of that.” 

He has a ruptured disk in his lower back, but at one stage when his drug regime made him impervious to pain, he would high-kick around the kitchen. 

“Haven’t been able to do this for years!” 

“You know, Brian,” I said one morning, “just because you CAN – mind the light – doesn’t necessarily mean you SHOULD.” 

“Think I can touch my forehead! Ungh!” 

The other day he went for a routine heart and lung check. With both apparently in spanking condition, he doubled the smoking and drinking and tortures Rosina: “I’m in great shape! You should have the old bellows checked out – might have to give up the fags, old girl.”

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